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Appalachian’s Board of Trustees to seek $65 million in bonds to finance campus construction projects

BOONE—The Board of Trustees at Appalachian State University will seek approval from the UNC Board of Governors to issue up to $65 million in bonds to finance two construction projects on campus and refinance bonds issued in 1998 to upgrade the campus utility system.

Of that amount, $32 million in bonds would finance planned enhancements to the athletic facilities at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

A total of $8 million would be used to renovate Frank Residence Hall.

A combination of student fees, private dollars, projected increased ticket sales and other funding sources would be used to retire the 25-year athletic enhancement facility bonds.

The enhancements include 4,400 additional seats, new restrooms and concessions to the stadium’s east side, and improvements to restrooms on the south side of the stadium.

Begun in 2005 when trustees approved issuing $16 million in bonds, the revised athletics facilities enhancement plan is estimated to cost $53 million.

The trustees also approved a modest increase in campus-based tuition, fees and charges related to room, board, book rental and transportation. With these changes, undergraduate students living on campus will pay a total of $9,893 a year to attend Appalachian beginning fall 2008.

Campus- based tuition will increase $42, athletic fees will increase $40, the student union fee will increase $8, and the book rental charge will increase $25. In addition, trustees approved a $2 increase in the transportation fee, a $100 increase in the room fee, and an increase of $20 to $100 in the meal fee, depending on the meal option selected by students.

Committees comprising more than 50 percent students first approved the fees, which were then recommended to the chancellor and the trustees.

“We are trying to be good stewards of the students’ money, and be open and transparent about the tuition and fee increase process,” said Interim Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Greg Lovins.

Lovins explained that $18 of the $40 athletics fee increase would be used to support a portion of the east side improvements to Kidd Brewer Stadium. Half of the new seating will be reserved for students. That portion of the athletics enhancements project will cost an estimated $8.5 million. The remainder of the athletics fee increase will be used to support increased scholarship costs and salaries for employees in the athletics department.

Student Government President Forrest Gilliam expressed concern about the athletics fee student would pay for years to support the athletics facilities. “We are looking at a lot of student support for a lot of years,” Gilliam said. “The vast majority of students are willing to pay this, but it’s important to remember students will be paying a large portion (to reduce the bond debt).”

The trustees also approved a new book rental policy that will limit the number of years a textbook is used, from three to two years, and give academic departments the option to adopt different books for multiple-section courses.

In other action, emeritus status was granted to Ming Land, former dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts and a professor in the Department of Technology. Land began his career at Appalachian in 1983 as chair of the Department of Technology. He served as dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts from 1989-2002. He returned to teaching in the Department of Technology in 2002 and retired from the university in June.

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